July 2007 Email Newsletter
Hot, Hot, Hot!!!!
Well, July has arrived with thermometers popping all over town. Spring rains have become a distant memory, and the blazing sun is burning up some of our more sensitive plants. Driving around the past few days, I have seen some of the hardiest plants showing signs of heat and drought stress. The dog days of summer have arrived and our plants are barking!
So what can we do….it’s simple water, water, water. During these extremely high temperatures and infrequent rainfalls our focus must shift. Instead of encouraging our plants to push out lush growth, we must supplement the lack of natural precipitation to prevent massive amounts of root loss due to dessication. Once root systems dieback it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the foliar canopy. Premature leaf drop often results from drought stress. This leaf drop is the tree or shrubs method of compensating for its root loss.
Deep root watering is the most efficient method to supplement rainfall. This process supplies moisture directly to the root system without the water waste from surface runoff and evaporation that occurs from common irrigation systems. Mountain High Tree offers Deep Root Watering services, or you can purchase a Deep Root Watering tool from your local garden center.
The aphids have thoroughly enjoyed the spring of 2007, however with high summer temps and a drop off in precipitation, their populations will soon begin to plateau. During hot summer conditions leaf tissue will increase the thickness of its cuticle (waxy covering for leaves). This “hardening off” process makes it more difficult for aphids, and their small mouthparts, to penetrate leaf tissue.
I don’t want to give you false hope of an insect free summer. Many aphids have adaptations to compensate for the changes in leaf tissue. Several species of aphids will also fall into a false dormancy. These particular pests will slow down their life cycle and wait for conditions to change, allowing them to feed freely once again.
Mite species number into the hundreds here in Colorado. This wide variety of insect species forces the pressure up on nearly all of our plant material. There are various species of mites that will attack everything from the most sensitive flowering Columbine all the way to the hardiest yuccah plant that endures the harshest weather on the dries slopes.
IPM as it is also known, is a rising practice in the Green Industry. Trees, shrubs, and lawns are varied as the clouds in the sky. Subsequently, it is not wise to think that one common treatment method is appropriate in such a dynamic environment. IPM ideology includes monitoring plant material, following insect life cycle, evaluating insect pressure, establishing damage thresholds (these vary with each clients goals), and determining cultural risk factors. All these factors are taken into account when deciding on the correct treatment for each client. Reducing the use of pesticides as well as increasing the health of ecosystems are both byproducts of IPM programs.
Mountain High Tree, Lawn, and Landscape is proud to be able to provide this and other treatment programs that are geared to increase our environmental stewardship. Our role as Stewards to the environment is something that we take very seriously. The increasing prominence of natural and organic insecticides as part of our treatment programs is yet another positive factor when deciding if Mountain High is the right choice to help you care for your landscape.
As the heat of summer begins to wreak havoc on your let Mountain High Lawn Service take the pressure of you. Brown spots are not necessarily the result of the heat. Various insects and diseases can create similar results. Correctly identifying the source of the problem is vital in fixing a stressed lawn.
Also, please remember to check your irrigation system throughout the season. Checking your system periodically will help to prevent major stress to your lawn as a result of a malfunctioning irrigation system. A small fix is often easier and cheaper when caught early. Don’t wait until your lawn severely stressed to give us a call.
Many people have phoned our office about the severe stress that is occurring in the Pine trees. Many Pine trees are experiencing stress due to the past winter. We set a near record this past winter for the number of days with snow on the ground. When snow sticks around it results in a high amount of reflected light. This is the reason that you can get a sunburn on the inside of your nose when you are skiing. A similar result is seen in Pine trees due to the same increase in reflected light. This light, also known as Albedo, tricks the trees into trying to be productive with the higher amounts of sunlight. Unfortunately, the tree cannot replace the moisture lost when the tree attempts to become functional. The break in moisture results in brown needles, but it is not obvious for several weeks.
Treating the trees on a remedial basis is the best way to help them overcome the stress. This can be achieved with supplemental watering in the spring and summer, as well as timely treatments of fertilizer and beneficial fungi. Give Mountain High a call so we can help you and your trees this summer.